Diagnosed with IBS or suspect you may suffer from IBS? You’re certainly not alone! It is believed that about 11% to 15% of the population has IBS. That’s about 35 to 50 million fellow Americans! More than half are probably not diagnosed and for those who are, it has taken on average about 4 years to get diagnosed! If this is you, you are probably frustrated and have a lot of questions.
IBS is complicated, but it is a recognized disease with real symptoms
What causes IBS is not known and there is no easy test to confirm a diagnosis. Therefore, your healthcare practitioner may struggle to categorize your symptoms making an IBS diagnosis difficult. However, the impact on you is very real.
IBS symptoms may include:
- abdominal pain and/or abdominal discomfort
- bouts of diarrhea combined with periods of constipation
These symptoms can have a significant impact on your quality of life, often forcing life-limiting changes. If the pain comes suddenly without warning or you cannot fully control bowel movements, simple things like going to work or eating out can become extremely stressful. It is not surprising that many IBS patients feel tired, anxious and even depressed.
Diagnosis of IBS
Today, a set of criteria referred to as the Rome IV Criteria for Diagnosing IBS is generally used by doctors to diagnose the condition. After confirming you do not have some other gastrointestinal condition, your doctor will assess whether:
- You suffered from recurrent abdominal pain on average at least 1 day per week over the last 3 months, and
- The pain was associated with at least two of the following:
- defecation (either increasing or decreasing pain)
- a change in frequency of defecation
- a change in form (appearance) of stool
Further, symptom onset must have occurred at least 6 months before diagnosis.
IBS may be caused by a breakdown in communication between your intestines and your brain
Our intestines are packed with nerve endings and if they are getting the wrong signals, our brains will receive the wrong messages and will react incorrectly; potentially creating a vicious cycle. One of the main suspects in creating this vicious cycle is our intestinal microbiome (the bacteria resident in our intestines). Many IBS patients have an unbalanced intestinal microbiome which can lead to a dysfunctional intestinal barrier (leaky gut). This can cause an overactive immune system and dysfunctional interaction with the nervous system. Therefore, this possible cause and effect relationship between the unbalanced intestinal microbiome and dysfunctional intestinal barrier may be a fundamental cause of IBS.
You can manage IBS
Yes, IBS can be managed but there’s no cure and many current approaches for managing symptoms generally do not give you full control. Most IBS patients try several approaches before they find the one that works the best for them. Typical approaches include:
- Changing diet. Avoiding certain foods, increasing fiber intake, and adopting diets such as the popular FODMAP diet
- Using over the counter products, such as probiotics and peppermint oil. Most people cycle through several of these products finding it hard to achieve consistent results.
- Taking prescription drugs. Medication is an answer for some people, but for others the side effects outweigh the benefits.
- Stress and lifestyle management. Avoiding stress, adopting a regular sleep pattern, and a healthy lifestyle can help
Holigos™ IBS introduces a new approach to nutritionally manage your IBS symptoms. Many people have had success with Holigos™ IBS. The human natural oligosaccharides in Holigos™ IBS feed your beneficial bacteria so that they can thrive, grow and produce the nutrients that we humans need to support our digestive health. One of these nutrients (butyrate) is the main energy source for cells making up your intestinal barrier. As a result, Holigos™ IBS allows you to break the vicious cycle by restoring your microbiome and nourishing your intestinal barrier. Get your life back!